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More Than 100 Top Brands Boycott Uzbek Cotton Over Forced Labor

Uzbek students pick cotton in Kashkadaryo earlier this month.
The director of a California-based labor-rights group says more than 100 international clothing makers are boycotting Uzbek cotton over the use of forced child labor.

The director of the Responsible Sources Network, Patricia Jurewicz, told RFE/RL that leading international brands such as Wal-Mart, JCPenney, American Eagle, Zara, and many others, have joined the boycott.

Jurewicz said that despite an Uzbek presidential decree this year banning children from working on the country's cotton fields, children between 15 and18 years old and many adults are still forced to work against their will in the cotton fields.

For years, rights watch dogs have accused Uzbek authorities of forcing children to pick cotton, one of the country's main exports.